Fifty seconds into the match, Chad Barrett raced through a gap in the Galaxy’s back line, lunged forward, and converted an Erik Friberg through ball into a goal. Seconds later, he was on the ground with a strained hamstring.
In a sense, the moment Sunday was Seattle’s summer writ small; even when things go right, they don’t.
And they haven’t. Not for a Seattle team that has lost eight of their last nine league matches. Not for Marco Pappa, whose future with the team is uncertain in light of his arrest for DUI July 19. Not for Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Osvaldo Alonso, all of whom were excluded from the 18-man roster in Los Angeles due to injuries of varying severity.
Zach Scott, whose apparent header goal in the 30th minute was disallowed for offside, was no luckier. Neither was Oniel Fisher, who had a one-on-one with Galaxy goaltender Donovan Ricketts but couldn’t direct the ball past him in the 61st minute.
The Sounders played their most competitive soccer of the entire summer in the first half, but defensive lapses and midfield turnovers caused the perpetually short-handed side to pull up short against the Galaxy.
“I thought we performed well, I thought the team went out there and played well,” said head coach Sigi Schmid after the match. “I thought we made them work for everything they got.”
LA (11-7-7) did not wait long to restore balance to the score line. In the 13th minute, a second ball from a corner kick found Gyasi Zardes streaking to the back post, who redirected the ball back across the goal mouth to tally his fifth goal of the season.
The Galaxy captured the lead in the 47th minute. Robbie Keane was left open in space inside the penalty area due to defensive miscommunication. Keane made Seattle pay, striking home a cross from A.J. DeLaGarza into the left side of the net.
Giovanni dos Santos added insult to injury, scoring as he outran the Seattle back line to capture his first league goal in the 61st minute.
“Guys are fighting for each other,” said Brad Evans. “Everything’s not going our way right now. Through a rough patch, everyone put their head down and stuck together, so it’s important that we keep doing that.”
The Sounders will hope to use a full week of training to finally regroup as a team despite their recent plummet from grace.
On the day, though, Seattle was bested once more. Said Schmid of a dismal summer: “When it rains it pours, and it continues to do that.”